It was a year ago that I was first invited by CaraCo, Kingston's largest developer, to visit Gananoque. If you've been to the small Eastern Ontario town, you're likely one of the quarter million people who visit each year to hop aboard one of the ships that cruise the St. Lawrence River through the Thousand Islands. Just such a meander had been on my weekend getaway bucket-list as long as I could remember, and once I went to the town to check it off the list, I wondered why none of my closest and dearest had not urged me there sooner: Gananoque is really charming, laid back but with a good amount of things to keep you occupied, both culturally and in the great outdoors, and oh yeah, it really is a great outdoors: the Thousand Islands are dreamy.
The reason CaraCo lured us there last year was for their first development foray into "Gan" as the locals call it. They had quite a site to show us, on a hill right on the water, and at the end of one of the town's major streets—Stone—where it meets the shoreline road—South. There they were planning to build a two-phase, mid-rise luxury condo. This year, CaraCo extended another invite—full disclosure, they paid for the visits—as they wanted to catch us up on where they were with Stone and South Condominiums. As I'd taken a liking to the town, the site, and the people, I was very happy to return to catch up and find that construction was underway on both phases.
The buildings, designed by Burlington-based Chamberlain Architect, each rise to just six storeys from the street, and are laid out so that all suites face the water. Phase One, on the right, below, has 41 suites, and Phase Two just 29. As of two weeks ago, all but just over a dozen of them were sold. At about $600/sq ft, the generously sized suites start at around $500,000. Every one, two, or three-bedroom layout has an eight-foot deep balcony (some as large as 325 sq ft) so there's plenty of room for eating outdoors overlooking the islands. Ceilings are up to 10 feet high and will give suites an airy feel. Kitchens and bathrooms are outfitted with high quality appliances, fixtures, and finishes, and interiors can be customized. A grand lobby, a 'Social Room' with a kitchen, and fitness centre will make up the complex's indoor amenities. A marina is being built immediately adjacent to the buildings, and around a dozen slips—designed to hold 30, 35, or 40 foot watercraft—are still available for purchase.
With the buildings under construction, instead of a story that looks at lots of Gananoque goodness (you can read up on that in last year's story at this link), I want to dive right into an UrbanToronto classic: the time-tested construction update story, this time with a Thousand Islands twist.
Construction-wise the first thing that sets this site apart from any in Toronto is the granite bedrock that's just a couple metres below the surface here: this is Canadian Shield territory, and it means that excavation takes tougher tools here than does the more easily broken rock of the Dundas shale that underlies Toronto. Luckily, Stone and South didn't need to go more than one floor into the shield, and a lofty foundation and garage level sitting a couple metres above the St. Lawrence is now being formed.
Immediately beside the building's footprint, land that will be landscaped by this time next year is currently storage area for form sections that will used to build the walls and floor slabs as the building rises. That "drowned" section at the back of the photo below will be built up (the St. Lawrence is high this year, the same level as Lake Ontario), and the marina's docks will be installed (underwater infrastructure for the docks is already in place), and a public walkway will be opened along the water's edge.
In the photo below, forms await placement, currently leaning against the north wall of the excavation.
In places, a crushed gravel substrate is already in place, and columns that will hold the condo floors above are rising through where the garage floor slab will soon be poured.
A shovel was placing more gravel when we visited.
At the back of the photo above, you can see the guys below, working away. They are placing and then tying-in steel reinforcing rods—also known as rebar—which significantly increase the strength inside concrete walls and floors. The tying-in is done with wire. Once the rebar is all in place, another form section will be raised around it, creating a mold, and allowing the concrete to be poured inside it. Once the hardening concrete has curred around the steel, the form sections are removed and what you have left is the incredibly strong material that holds up 90% of the structures we build today.
The photo above shows another aspect of creating a concrete wall: the part where the's not going to be a wall! The wooden frame with the steel shoring jack rising through its centre is where there will be a door once this wall has been formed. To tailor-make each form to plan, there's always one or more carpenters onsite. Below, a carpenter fashions a component for another form being assembled for another part of the project.
Wth all of the activity onsite—the crane hoisting materials from one area of the site to another—Stone and South Condominiums are on their way and will be ready for occupancy starting next year. Phase One will open its doors in the Spring of 2020, while Phase Two will open in the Fall.
It's a pretty unique spot, in an attractive town and on a gorgeous and storied river. For those looking for a home away from home outside of Toronto—or Montreal which is just as close, or Ottawa which is closer, Gananoque makes for a very appealing location to re-centre oneself. CaraCo's official website for Stone and South is here, while additional information and images can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.
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